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Lerigot's Greatest Trick
The wizard Lerigot had enjoyed a long life. He had travelled, made good friends that he would trust with his life and had married a wonderful woman. He had a beautiful family that he would do anything to protect and while not the man wizard on his planet, he was comfortable with how his life had progressed.
He was a tall man, with a long white beard flowing down over his scarlet robes. Despite the white hair his dark eyes sparkled with life. He was easily as old as Lexian of Edenoi and Zordon, and just as energetic. He liked his human form; it was a very comfortable body. And now, past his prime and ready to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, he was ready to undertake the last of his duties.
It had long been a tradition for the wizards of his planet to perform three great deeds before they renounced their magic and enjoyed their declining years. In Lerigot's case it had been very difficult to find deeds that truly challenged his abilities. He had performed many great feats over the years, so the traditional challenge was even more troublesome. How could you compete with imprisoning a demonic creature and sealing him away on an island in a dimensional rift?
He had already decided upon one of the deeds he would try to perform. Many years ago a good friend and ally had been trapped in a time warp by a treacherous witch. He was going to free his friend and give him a chance to return to his home planet, perhaps even reunite with those he had left behind; Zordon would never know how much pain he had caused his family when he had been forced to leave them, it was a hurt that only Zedd's offspring could understand. ~And look what became of him, I bet Zedd fumed for weeks after discovering his son had become a Ranger.~
That was a task for another time though. The alignment of the planets had to be perfect if he wanted Zordon to return as a physical body and not the spiritual form he sometimes managed. For now he was concentrating on another of his great deeds. Energy flowed around the five-sectioned console before him. He had wanted to create a team of ten Rangers, his gift to a war-torn universe, but finding a way for those devices to work together had proven impossible.
"This is a unique application of magic," he said, dictating to a small recording stone. "The immense energy channelled into the 'keys' will allow them to be self-replenishing. The second part of the key contains a programmable template that stores and regulates the powers. The addition of a dual coil accelerates the energy making these powers highly suited for reconnaissance and speed; unfortunately they will be limited in terms of pure power."
This was Lerigot in his element, a screwdriver in one hand and his magical key in the other. It was pure techno-magic performed by a master of what was becoming a lost art. And here he was, creating devices to help those that the Council deemed unworthy and perhaps bring a little hope to the cosmos.
He was almost finished and just needed to find a home for his gift to the forces of Good. Moving over to the transmitter he tried to send a signal but found the signal was blocked by other traffic on the communication system. That meant he had a choice: wait for the signal to clear or go to visit his friend Zordon in person; the most respected hero of the Grid Wars was bound to know the best place to put the powers to use.
~I'll wait,~ he thought. ~I hate the side effects of travelling!~
It was almost comical that Lerigot the powerful wizard, got travel sick after a few hundred light years.
"Father!" Bethel shouted from outside the room.
"In here," Lerigot replied.
*The workshop,* he sent back telepathically. *You don't need to shout.*
He shook his head and waited for his daughter to join him. She appeared to be in her twenties, but in real terms she was an infant. Their race lived so long that they could afford to remain young, innocent and childlike at least until they were fifty. He smiled at her as she walked in. Wearing a long white gown with her blonde hair-tied back she reminded Lerigot of why he had fallen in love with her mother. He could tell from her face that something was wrong.
*What is it?* he asked.
*I felt something. It was a long way off, but I could sense a dark cloud of evil travelling towards us.*
Lerigot frowned. Like all of her people Bethel was telepathic, but since she was still young and her talent untrained she had a greater range than most of her race, but lacked the ability to zero in on the source. Still, if she had sensed something approaching and it had made her this nervous, he was not going to ignore it.
*Which direction did the feeling come from?* He asked.
Bethel pointed and her father nodded silently. Holding his magic key he closed his eyes and reached out with his mind, trying to touch the Universe beyond. There, just on the edge of perception was the black cloud his daughter had described. But it was not a cloud; it was a fleet of ships that belonged to the self-proclaimed queen, Divatox.
*Yara!* Lerigot called mentally. *She is coming!*
His wife was at his side and quickly they prepared to ensure the new morphers were placed outside the pirate's reach. Not that Divatox was coming for the morphers and both Lerigot and his wife knew it. She was after Lerigot himself, no doubt planning to use him during this time when his magic was so potent to undo his work and free her beloved Maligore.
Using their powers, Yara and Lerigot created a large space pod. Inside they place the five morphers. With little time Lerigot quickly programmed the ship to find Zordon and warn him of Divatox's arrival. He had no choice; it had to be Earth since that was the only access point Divatox could use to gain entry to Muiranthias. However at the present time even that doorway was closed to her unless she gained control of his magic key. Then instead of waiting for the dimensions to align and the doorway to open, she would be able to make her own.
"It is a good thing that only you can align the key," his wife said and he nodded. Without him, there was no way the false queen would fulfil her selfish dreams of freeing Maligore - for Lerigot did not delude himself for a moment that there was any love between the demon and his fiancé, except perhaps Divatox's love of wealth and power. He considered destroying the key knowing that so long it survived there would be a way to break through, but he couldn't bring himself to do so and rob Zordon of his chance for freedom.
*Launch the ship,* he told Yara. *I will slow Divatox's fleet.*
In a flash of white smoke he was gone, leaving Yara and Bethel to carry out his wishes. Divatox was bad news. She was a ruthless villain that allied herself with pirates to achieve her aims and would stop at nothing to get her way. And on top of all that, she hated Lerigot. He was the one responsible for her future husband's imprisonment and only the magic key could release him. Yara knew nothing would stop Divatox from taking the key.
Worse still was the news she had convinced one of the pirate chiefs to lend her a fleet of ships in return for the right to share in any spoils. And it appeared that the decision carried the support of the entire clan since she had been given two War-Class frigates; planetary bombardment was the favourite method of the pirates when it came to weakening planetary defences. It was something Lerigot wanted to avoid but somehow doubted that was possible.
"Captain Mutiny, we await your command," Barbarax, first mate of the SS Mutiny announced.
"As soon as we are in position, raid the planet," the captain instructed.
"Wait!" Divatox commanded, her voice travelling over the radio from her own small vessel. "Destroy, rape, pillage, kill... I don't care what you do to the planet, but I want Lerigot alive."
"You heard the Queen," the Captain growled.
"Aye!" Barabarax replied.
On board her craft, Divatox studied the planet below, remembering the day that she had learnt of her fiancé. He had been a powerful demon until he came to Liaria. There he had challenged the native wizards to a battle on the planet's surface, certain he could destroy them. The wizards, Lerigot's ancestors, had accepted the challenge and though Maligore had used every trick he knew to destroy the Liarian wizards, they had been able to draw on the power of his entire planet to repel the invasion.
The struggle was said to have lasted for days, with neither gaining a clear advantage until finally the native wizards had gained the upper hand and used their power to imprison Maligore in a wall of light. Once they had won; there was no need for further battle since the wall cut Maligore off from his source of power, causing a backlash deep within his soul. Flames had burst from Maligore's body as he was consumed by his own darkness. Instead of lifting the spell, the wizards had sent Maligore to the heart of a volcano in another dimension and had then sealed the doorways to prevent his return.
It had taken many years to discover that the last gateway to Muiranthias was on Earth, which only opened once every seven years through a doorway opened by Liaria's Golden Key, currently in the possession of Lerigot. The wizards had indeed spared Maligore's life, but only after imprisoning him for eternity. And that had left Divatox without the power she wanted. She renewed her vow that when she had finished with Lerigot he would know the true meaning of the word suffering.
~That annoying wizard thinks he can stop me from reaching Maligore, but he forgets who he is dealing with. I wonder how long it will take him to remember once I level his pathetic planet?~
"Give me a close up of the planet!" she shouted at her chief scientist, Porto.
Her craft was a primitive shuttle compared to the pirate ships, but it was the best her brother would build her at the time; while Divatox fancied herself a queen of evil, her family were busy building their own empire.
"Yes my Captain," Porto said.
On the screen appeared the image of the Liaria. Slowly the scanners closed in on Lerigot to show him high on the top of his home.
"There he is," Divatox said, the venom evident in her voice. "And he's got the key with him as well. Elgar, Rygog! Get down there and grab him before those stupid pirates open fire!"
Lerigot found himself on the highest point of Liaria looking up at the sky above. After consulting with his race and gaining their telepathic permission to do everything necessary to prevent Divatox freeing Maligore, he had launched the ship into space.
Now he had to stop Divatox taking his world. The magic key was indestructible, but the lack of a Liarian would slow her down. Reaching deep down into himself Lerigot started to focus his peoples energy. More energy added as the minds he touched drew power from their neighbours. Slowly an overlapping web of pure energy was created with Lerigot as its focus. The Power filled him, but he ignored the sensations of pleasure he felt. They were not important. What was important was that his people were becoming pure energy and joining him.
Lerigot soon passed the point where the energy threatened to destroy him; he had gone too far to stop safely. This would be his greatest feat, something that would leave his audience begging for more.
"Be gone!" he shouted.
He channelled the energy from his magic key and directed it at the pirate fleet, ignoring Divatox for the time being. The blast struck the armada head on, pushing the ships away. Engines overloaded as the fleet was violently shoved aside. The weaker ships disintegrated on contact and soon only Divatox's tiny vessel was left as the others were pushed thousands on light years away.
Then the planet was still, its people extinct. High on a mountain stood Lerigot, or at least what was left of him. His scarlet robe still shone in the daylight and his hand held the key he had used to overcome the fleet. But that was all that remained, his skin had been stripped along with the muscles and cartilage. Smoke rose from his charred body, which started to sway in the light breeze.
"Hey, there he is!" Elgar shouted as he ran up to the remains of the wizard. "He looks thinner than I remember."
"He's dead you imbecile!" Rygog shouted. "The key is gone too. Let's get out of here!"
Divatox listened as an underling ran through the list of repairs needed before they could get mobile again. It seemed that while the Subcraft had been spared the onslaught, it had been damaged by the debris from another vessel. Worse, it appeared Lerigot had ruined her immediate plans even though she had succeeded. The wizard had stolen her victory and that blasted pirate Mutiny was nowhere to be seen.
"My Queen, I have important news," Porto announced.
"What is it?" she asked testily.
"Lerigot is still alive."
Porto took a step back as the villainess advanced on him.
"It seems that the whole turning himself into a corpse was an illusion. He escaped while we were watching him attack the other ships."
"I don't know whether to strangle you or kiss you," Divatox said finally. "Find him. I don't care where he went. Find him and get me that key."
It seemed that her moment of triumph had been delayed, but only for a little while. Sooner or later Porto would manage to trace the runaway wizard and then her plans would resume.
"I can wait," she decided. In the meantime she would have some fun. "Set course for Nintega!" She had always enjoyed the Games Planet.
Victory had proven costly, escape had not been without sacrifice. The only way for his people to leave the planet undetected had been to alter themselves genetically. Gone were the human bodied people of Liaria and in their place remained a dwarf-like race of furballs. That was not the worst of it though. The children, those under fifty, had been changed into children; Bethel was a baby again. And there was nothing they could do, the changes were irreversible.
Still they had escaped Divatox and they would find a new home. They were on their way to find Zordon, using Lerigot's key to jump from one planet to another. No matter the cost this was a fight they could not afford to lose.
*Father, she knows,* Bethel told him, crying as she did so.
Lerigot and Yara exchanged looks before making another planet jump. It seemed their ordeal wasn't over yet.